Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden

IN six months’ time, a group will set off for a quiet Northumberland countryside stroll.

Battle of Flodden
Battle of Flodden

IN six months’ time, a group will set off for a quiet Northumberland countryside stroll.

On the exact day and hour of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, local historian Clive Hallam-Baker will lead the guided walk of the area near Branxton where the Scots and English armies clashed in the last great medieval battle.

And in the three-and-a-half hours it will take to amble around the battlefield, on that day in 1513 more than 10,000 soldiers, plus the Scottish King James IV, lost their lives in the ferocious conflict.

The tour on September 9 is just one of the events to mark the 500th anniversary which were announced at the historic Heatherslaw Mill on the Ford and Etal estate near the battlefield.

The corn mill, rebuilt in the 18th Century, would have been operating at the time of the battle.

The programme was unveiled by estate owner Lord James Joicey and Alistair Bowden, project co-ordinator.

Mr Bowden said: “This is about commemoration and we take our cue from the plaque on the cross which stands guard over the battlefield today and placed there in 1910 ‘To the Brave of Both Nations’.

“It was an event which shaped our country, and is as much about where we are today as remembering the past. “

On the same day, the 1499 bell at Swinton Kirk in the Borders, which tolled after the battle, will ring at 4.30pm and every day for a week.

The morning of September 10 will see a requiem mass at 10.30am at Norham Church near to Norham Castle in Northumberland which was besieged by the Scottish Army on its way to the battle.

This will be followed by the main Solemn Commemoration at 2.30pm in Branxton next to the battlefield.

Open to all, this will be led by Churches Together, a partnership of different faiths from both sides of the Border.

The focus will be on peace and reconciliation and will involve a wide range of individuals and groups including church groups, and descendants of those who took part in the battle including those of the Duke of Norfolk and Lord Home, military representatives, schoolchildren and community groups from both sides of the Border.

Other events during the commemorative week will include:

l The Borderers’ Return from Flodden Ride – a three day horseback ride around the whole of the area covered by the Scottish Army – organised by the Flodden 1513 Club in Coldstream.

l Concert and official opening of the Selkirk Peace Garden by the Duke of Buccleuch.

l Scottish Rock & English Folk Music Concert at Norham (September 7)

l Costumed Actor at Etal Castle, Northumberland.

l Service of commemoration at St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, arranged by The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

l Flodden 1513 Club’s commemoration at Flodden Monument (9th September)

l Flyting – a new opera by Matthew Rooke at The Maltings, Berwick.

A flower festival at St Michael and All Angels Church in Ford over the Easter weekend, which attracted almost 1,000 people, was the first of eight which are scheduled.

Also announced yesterday was the expansion of the Flodden Ecomuseum, a concept which joins sites and projects linked to the battle.

This will now be extended from 12 regional to 40 sites covering the whole of the UK including the Mary Rose Tudor warship at Portsmouth and the Ord of Caithness in Scotland.

Flodden Ecomuseum director James Joicey said: “An Ecomuseum is a loosely-structured vehicle through which local communities can manage their own heritage, by conserving their traditions and resources themselves and encouraging everyone to learn, visit and enjoy the sites.

Examples of the Flodden Ecomuseum sites include the Flodden Wall in Edinburgh – fortified by the people of the city after the news of defeat arrived.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer